The newest addition to Park Boulevard's bourgeoning drinking and dining scene, Madison, is nearing the final stages of construction and should be open by New Year. The re-vamp of the 3,000-square-foot former Lei Lounge property, spearheaded by owner and managing partner Jeffrey Fink (FLUXX nightclub, M-Theory Music), will bring upscale dining, more cocktails and music to the neighborhood.
Transformed by industrial design duo Anna and David Sindelar of ARCHISECTS, the sleek cedar-lined venue is interspersed with colorful geometric inlaid panels and features recessed alcoves, handmade Douglas fir tables plus mid-century style pendant lamps throughout. The Victorian-era storefront opens into a casual bar and lounge area, which offers seating in the form of 12 high back barstools plus banquettes, before leading into an adjacent 78-seat dining room. The indoor-outdoor space boasts sky-high vaulted ceilings anchored by two guitar string-inspired rope installations.
The beverage program includes a creative cocktail list from Milwaukee mixology stalwart Dan Dufek (Hi Hat Lounge) showcasing eight original creations and five reimagined classics including The California Common (mezcal, fresh watermelon, lime, IPA) and Tiki-inspired Jungle Bird with Cruzan Black Rum and Campari. Bar manager Danny Kuehmer will also be showcasing a selection of local lighter IPAs and pilsners in addition to boutique wines to pair with the menu.
Inspired by Mediterranean and Southern California cuisine, the menu is designed by chef Mario Cassineri (partner and executive chef of BiCE Ristorante) with a strong emphasis on fresh, clean flavors and local organic ingredients. Chef Tony "G" Gutierrez (BiCE, Opera Kitchen, La Strada) will helm the kitchen day-to-day, while chef Mario will assist with seasonal menu changes and one-off specials. Expect a selection of small and shared plates ($7 to $10), ranging from tuna tartare with tempura Santa Barbara shrimp and bell pepper emulsion, to a baked brie with apricot and habanero honey. Larger plates ($13 to $18) include pappardelle with carnitas and Grana Padano, and a sesame crusted pork chop slow cooked in clarified butter, served with broccoli rabe and Roman lettuce.
Partnering with Gaslamp bakery Le Parfait Paris, desserts will be designed to share and include an oversized French macaroon filled with mango ice cream and fresh strawberries and a Torta di Ricotta, a pillowy-soft 'almost cheesecake' from Southern Italy. Open daily from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., the dinner menu will be served until 10:30 p.m.; a late night bar menu will be available until closing.